There are two things people remember when they visit the top of the Empire State Building, “the views and the line,” said Anthony Malkin, CEO and Chairman of Empire State Realty Trust, at an unveiling this morning of the landmark’s new Observatory entrance. As phase one of the decade-long Empire State ReBuilding project to modernize the building, the new entrance will greatly increase space and reduce the wait time for the 4.2 million annual Observatory guests. The space includes a “grand staircase which splits around a two-story architectural model of ESB,” along with new self-service ticket kiosks, digital screens showing images of the building over its 87 years, and high-tech “airport-style” security.
Empire State Building
Via Empire State Realty Trust
If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with Empire State Building sightlines, your views will, as of this week, include a five-minute sparkling light show every hour, on the hour, between sunset and 2 AM nightly. As Time Out New York reports, this latest addition to the iconic spire’s light show repertoire joins a lighting tradition that began in 1932 and includes holiday flair–red, white, and blue lights on the Fourth of July, the green and orange of the Irish flag on St. Patrick’s Day–music-enhanced light shows, and color changes to salute occasions and organizations every night of the year.
Photo via Wikimedia
The landlords of New York City’s most iconic skyscraper are looking to fill 50,000 square feet of retail space by 2020, even as brick-and-mortar businesses in Manhattan have struggled to stay open. According to Bloomberg, owners of the Empire State Building are marketing the tower’s ground-floor, concourse and second-floor real estate, as the building undergoes a retail renovation for the first time since opening in 1931. Plus, the tower’s observatory entrance will be moved from Fifth Avenue to 34th Street.
Photo of the 1931 Beaux Arts Ball courtesy of the Van Alen Institute
The architects who built the Jazz Age really knew how to get down. In January 1931, they turned the city’s annual Beaux Arts Ball into the ultimate Gatsby-approved bash. Instead of the stuffy historicism of years past, the party’s theme was “Fête Moderne — a Fantasie in Flame and Silver.” Advance advertising for the Ball in the New York Times promised an event “modernistic, futuristic, cubistic, altruistic, mystic, architistic and feministic,” featuring the city’s most renowned architects dressed as their buildings, celebrating both themselves and the modern fantasy metropolis they had forged in flame and silver. Art Deco New York: the skyscraper city, glittering and strong, reaching ever higher – through technological advancement and American ingenuity – toward excitement, prosperity, enlightenment, and power.
Update 10/20/17: Crain’s reports that Trump’s doodle has sold at auction for $16,000. The buyer has not been named, but a portion of the sale will benefit Connecticut National Public Radio station WHDD-FM.
He may not have had any formal political experience before taking office, but Donald Trump was certainly well versed in doodling. In July, a 2005 charity auction sketch he made of the NYC skyline, which not surprisingly depicts Trump Tower front and center among anonymous buildings, sold at auction for an incredible $29,184. And now, as reported by the Guardian, a similarly elementary sketch he did of the Empire State Building is also headed to auction, where it’s expected to fetch up to $12,000, a portion of which will be donated to National Public Radio (NPR). Interestingly, Trump did the signed drawing in 1995, the year after he began his fraught attempt to take ownership of the landmark building.
Known for its record-breaking height and sophisticated Art Deco style, the Empire State Building is one of New York City’s, if not the world’s, most recognized landmarks. While the building is often used in popular culture as light-natured fodder—such as the opening back drop to your favorite cookie-cutter rom-com or the romantic meeting spot for star-crossed lovers—the building’s past is far more ominous than many of us realize. From failed suicide attempts to accidental plane crashes, its history casts a vibrant lineup of plot-lines and characters spanning the past ninety years.
Carter Uncut brings New York City’s latest development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. Ahead, Carter brings us his eighth installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter looks at the “stray” supertalls rising in low slung neighborhoods.
Most of the city’s recent supertall developments have occurred in traditional high-rise commercial districts such as the Financial District, the Plaza District, downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City. Some are also sprouting in new districts such as the Hudson Yards in far West Midtown.
There are, however, some isolated “stray” supertalls that are rising up in relatively virgin tall territories, such as next to the Manhattan Bridge on the Lower East Side and Sutton Place.
In 2000, shortly after ending his first presidential run, Donald Trump was asked for what he would like to be remembered. He responded, “I’d like to own the Empire State Building,” adding that it would make him “New York’s Native Son.” As Crain’s recalls, he came awfully close to renaming the iconic tower the “Trump Empire State Building Tower Apartments.” For nearly a decade, Trump had a 50 percent, no-cost stake in the building, but he lost it when he attempted a hostile takeover of the structure in the late 90s.
Today, the only thing you’ll be spending money on when you travel to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building is the $50+ Observation Deck ticket. But back in the ’30s, it was a much more glamorous experience, complete with the Empire State Observatory Fountain and Tea Room.
The New York Public Library recently digitized 18,000 of its 40,000 restaurant menus, which range from 1851 to 2008, including this one from the Empire State Building in 1933. As you’ll see, sandwiches (ham, peanut butter, and tomato and lettuce, to name a few) were a mere 25 cents, the same price as their six types of ice cream sundaes and ten flavored sodas. In terms of actual food, your only choice other than a sandwich would’ve been a pretty blah-sounding salad, some pastries, or a selection of “candy and cigarettes.”
Despite controversy, several delays, and a $30 million crowdfunding attempt, the New York Wheel is projecting major first-year revenue. According to The Real Deal, developers of the 630-foot Staten Island ferris wheel expect to bring in a staggering $127.85 million in 2017, a figure that will make it more lucrative than the Empire State Building’s observation deck, which raked in $111.5 million last year. Of the total revenue, $96 million is projected to come from admission fees (which come in at $35 a person, as compared to the Empire State Building’s $32); $10 million from sponsorships; and $8.7 million from gift shop sales. And if you’re impressed by these numbers, annual revenue will likely grow to $166.52 million by 2021!